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Dr. Benjamin Halpern of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) is recognised for his fundamental contributions to marine conservation and resource management.  Dr. Halpern is the Director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and Professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB.  He is also Chair in Marine Conservation at Imperial College London and serves as the Director of the Center for Marine Assessment and Planning (CMAP) at UCSB.  He has been the lead scientist for the Ocean Health Index (OHI) project.

Dr. Halpern's research on marine protected areas (MPA) transformed our understanding of where, why, and how protected areas affect marine species and systems, and helped catalyze the explosion of MPA creation around the world in the past decade.  His research on measuring and mapping the cumulative impact of human activities has provided a new way for governments and organizations to implement conservation plans and marine spatial planning.  His research developing the Ocean Health Index has transformed how oceans are measured and managed.  After the launch of this Index, governments and organizations from twenty eight different countries on every continent have developed or are developing regional OHI assessments, various United Nations assessment and reporting bodies include OHI as a main metric of ocean health, and many global conservation Non-government Organizations and Foundations are using the Index to track progress and inform investments.